March 16, 2005


Christian Quotation of the Day (March 12, 2005)

Evil is the soul’s choice of the not-God. The corollary is that damnation or hell, is the permanent choice of the not-God. God does not (in the monstrous old-fashioned phrase) “send” anybody to hell; hell is that state of the soul in which its choice becomes obdurate and fixed; the punishment (so to call it) of that soul is to remain eternally in that State which it has chosen.
--Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893-1957), The Poetry of Search [1963]

And so do people make, quite literally, a Hell on Earth.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 16, 2005 9:13 PM

I am not sure that this is exclusively Christian.

Gn 4:

[2] . . . Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.
[3] In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground,
[4] and Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions.
And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering,
[5] but for Cain and his offering he had no regard.
So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
[6] The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen?
[7] If you do well, will you not be accepted?
And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door;
its desire is for you, but you must master it."

[8] Cain said to Abel his brother, "Let us go out to the field."
And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.
[9] Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?"
He said, "I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?"
[10] And the LORD said, "What have you done?
The voice of your brother's blood is crying to ME from the earth.
[11] And now you are more cursed than the earth,
which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand.
[12] When you till the earth, it shall no longer yield to you its strength;
you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth."
[13] Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is greater than I can bear.
[14] Behold, thou hast driven me this day away from the ground;
and from thy face I shall be hidden;
and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth,
and whoever finds me will slay me."

[15] Then the LORD said to him,
"Not so! If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold."
And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him.
[16] Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

First, this parsha supports the idea that "Evil is the souls choice of the not-God." Re-read 6 and 7 You must master your evil inclination, only that way can you avoid sin.

Second, it also supports the idea that "the punishment . . . of that soul is to remain eternally in that State" Re-read 14. Cain has three punishments. 1) "from thy face I shall be hidden," i.e. he will be exiled from God, and 2) "I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth" i.e. he will be exiled from his native land and 3) "whoever finds me will slay me" i.e. he will be an outlaw. God remits the third punishment in response to Cain's plaintive cry, but the first two are not remitted. 16 says that Cain went away from the Devine presence, and "dwelt in the land of Nod." He was an exile on earth, but the more important punishment is the first part of that sentence, the exile from God. He is permanently in that exile, and he knows it.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 16, 2005 10:32 PM

There you are, Robert. Please forgive a way off topic comment, but I rudely overlooked your question (far below) about the "4th dog".

OJ's allusion was to a song by Three Dog Night, which (in turn) alludes to an old rural idiom about a night so cold you need three dogs on the bed for their body heat.

Didn't mean to ignore your curiousity.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 16, 2005 10:58 PM

This quote reminds me of Lewis (from The Great Divorce), where he is told people will either say to God - "Thy will be done", or God will say to them, in the end - "thy will be done".

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 16, 2005 11:32 PM

"Nothing burns in hell but self-will."

Posted by: Theologia Germanica at March 17, 2005 10:30 AM

Ghostcat: Thanks for the info. The sad thing is that I can't remember the context of the question. Par for the course these days. Getting old is a female cannine.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at March 17, 2005 12:26 PM